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Judge denies new trial for convicted killer Harold Henthorn

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A federal judge on Thursday denied convicted wife-killer Harold Henthorn a new trial, after Henthorn claimed his trial attorney "acted in his own self-interest, was dishonest" and committed fraud in the course of defending Henthorn.


Judge Brooke Jackson rejected Henthorn's arguments saying one of Henthorn's arguments 'lacks any semblance of merit'. Jackson, who presided over Henthorn's federal murder trial, said Henthorn's trial attorney, Craig Truman, 'did extensive preparation' and made 'strategic choices.. not poor preparation'.

Toni and Harold Henthorn hiking photos
Daniel Jarvis

A federal jury convicted Henthorn of pushing his second wife, Toni, off a cliff in Rocky Mountain National Park in 2012. Prosecutors theorized Henthorn would have been the beneficiary of $4.7 million in life insurance he had taken out on his wife. Harold Henthorn pleaded not guilty and has always maintained his innocence. A jury convicted Henthorn of murder in 2015 after about 10 and a half hours of deliberation.  

In his statement of claims against Truman, Henthorn wrote that Truman, "acted in his own self-interest and put his personal financial gain ahead of conducting a solid defense for me. His employment with me," wrote Henthorn, "was all about him taking as much money from me and my immediate family as possible, extorting as much money from me as he could."

He said Truman billed him $1,064,772 for his defense.

"In return, he provided no defense — and explained to me only after it was too late — that he had sold me down the river."

But in ruling against Henthorn, Jackson said "it was a memorable trial" and said attorney Truman's defense was not deficient in any respects.

Todd Bertolet, one of Toni Henthorn's brothers, told CBS4,"As stated in the Victim Impact Statement, the public needs to be able to forget Harold Henthorn, as he does not belong in anyone's future. The latest appeal ruling and denial reaffirm Henthorn's separation from society and his rightful identity as Inmate 40752013.

Henthorn is serving a life sentence for murder in a federal prison in Indiana.

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